March 23, 2009

Moving away from Chief Wahoo?

Correspondent DMarks reports on his recent trip to Cleveland, Ohio--home of America's most offensive racial icon:There is a tiny wallet-sized folding "Cleveland Indians 2009 Schedule" available everywhere, at all the gas stations and hotels, that has Chief Wahoo in the corner of the front page, and also printed on the front page is the slogan "Are you IN the Tribe?"

Inside, there are scores of special events and attendance gifts listed for different games, but I saw none attached to Chief Wahoo.

The most interesting thing inside are the charity days. There are 13 of them, and one is for the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio.

I wonder what they think of the mascot? Their web site says that their mission is "To fight bias, bigotry, and racism in America by advancing diversity."

I just now googled "Get rid of chief wahoo" to see what was there. I found this discussion:

Should the Cleveland Indians get rid of Chief Wahoo?

It included the comment:

They've been trying to move the fan base to using that cursive "I" instead of the chief wahoo, and we're seeing it on more and more apparel. I know that the best looking jerseys are the newer "I" jerseys. It seems they are going to just try and keep the offensive cartoon logo out as much as possible and stay with the name.
The schedule folder features the "I" logo prominently. But if they are trying to move away from the stereotype, it would have been so easy for them to exclude Chief Wahoo from the front page of the schedule for the forthcoming season. Yet, he's still there.

Other comments are typical:

Tell the real Indians to get a life. "Oh no. There using our name for a baseball team." At least your name is connected to something more than gambling and whinning about the government.

teams named after native american warriors is no different than teams named after warriors of any different race in any different era. why are native new englanders angry about the use of the nickname "Colonials" or "Minutemen"?

The Indians got their name in 1915....now who the heck is offended? Most of the people around when the Indians got their name are probably long gone. The name has been there for 92 years, some people just need to deal with it...
Comment:  I suspect the Diversity Center's people don't think about Chief Wahoo, or think the monetary support they get from the Cleveland Indians is more important.

It seems the Cleveland Indians know their mascot is offensive, but also know that getting rid of it will offend their racist fans. So they compromise by downplaying Chief Wahoo in favor of an "I."

You gotta love how these fans reveal their ignorance and prejudice. Fan #1 knows nothing about Indians except gambling and "whinning" (whining). Fan #2 thinks "warrior" is an occupation, which means he doesn't recognize Indians as a separate ethnic group with separate cultures. Fan #3 thinks real Indians are probably long gone. He implies that whoever's protesting Chief Wahoo is a "politically correct" non-Indian who has nothing better to do than imagine offenses.

These ignorant fans seem to think Indians are protesting the "Indians" name more than anything else. They don't even address the stereotypical nature of Chief Wahoo--presumably because they can't. In reality, of course, Indians are more concerned about Chief Wahoo than the "Indians" name.

Perhaps not coincidentally, these fans are bad at spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Ignorant about one thing, ignorant about everything?

For more on the subject, see Team Names and Mascots.

2 comments:

Melvin Martin said...

Re: "ignorant about everything"

As I have noted throughout my life as an Indian person: most racists are dumber than a sledgehammer to begin with.

The more simplistically designed mascots appeal to the dumber racists 'a la Wahoo.

The only other cartoon monstrosities that, IMO, has Wahoo beat are the Indians that Popeye went toe-to-toe with a few times in the Fifties when I was a kid: the "hostiles" who all looked totally alike, but had much bigger, redder noses than Wahoo.

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up and whip the dog shit out of "hostiles" like Popeye was able to do. So, unlike millions of Boomers, I actually threw tantrums to get my Mom to buy MORE spinach.

I also wanted massive forearms like Popeye's - so, at the age of ten I started doing countless wrist curls with a solid dumbbell.

I started out with a ten pound, then a fifteen pound weight, then I stayed with a 25-pound weight until, as a senior in high school, my forearms were so huge that I was looked at as some kind of freak.

I gave up on wrist curls until my second marriage years later when I started to use a 50-pound dumbbell because my wife told me that she loved my "Popeye" forearms.

But, I digress...

dmarks said...

Click here to see a scan of the actual mini-folder. It measures 2.5 x 3.5 inches.